India’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 50,000 as pandemic spreads beyond big cities


    MUMBAI. – India’s COVID-19 death toll topped the 50,000 mark on Monday and the total number of recorded cases neared 2.65 million as the outbreak spread further into smaller towns and rural areas, the latest government data showed.

    The world’s second-most populous country recorded 57,981 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, raising the total to 2,647,663, while an additional 941 deaths raised the overall death toll to 50,921.

    India is only the third country, behind Brazil and the United States, to record more than 2 million infections, but it has a relatively lower death rate of 1.9 per cent, compared to the world average of 3.5 per cent.

    India conducted more than 730,000 tests for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the government-run clinical research agency, said on Monday as the country inches toward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stated goal of 1 million tests a day.

    Experts have said India’s testing rates are far too low, and this could obscure the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak.

    India has been posting at least 50,000 new cases per day since July 30 as the disease has spread from major cities like Mumbai and Delhi into the impoverished hinterlands of densely populated states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    Modi imposed a strict lockdown on March 25, to curb the outbreak. Restrictions have been gradually been eased since early June but in many parts of India, public transport, cinemas and malls remain closed, making it difficult to rescue the economy from a slowdown that shows no signs of abating. – Reuters